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Monday, August 31, 2009

Port Authority releases transit development proposal

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Port Authority of Allegheny County in the Pittsburgh area released a proposal to improve bus and light rail service starting next year and keep its base fare at $2. The final draft proposal of the Transit Development Plan would bring sweeping improvements for the majority of Port Authority's 220,000 daily riders. Changes would begin in March 2010 and be phased in over the next few years.


Details of the proposal now are available on the Authority's Web site at

The proposal does not cut the overall level of service offered today by the Authority. Rather, the number of daily trips would be increased and the hours of operation would be expanded on most routes. No Authority jobs would be lost due to the changes.

By adopting the proposed service changes, Port Authority also meets the strict thresholds established by state lawmakers under Act 44 that assure the agency receives the maximum amount of state funding available.

"This proposal would improve service for the majority of our riders by adding more trips, cutting travel times and offering new high-frequency options," said Port Authority CEO Steve Bland. "This is a smarter way of doing business while improving daily service for our riders."

Improvements include the addition of Rapid Bus service on nine routes. Rapid Bus is high frequency, limited stop bus service that some describe as being the bus equivalent of light-rail service.

The proposed fare changes, which would start on Jan. 1, 2010, would keep a $2 base fare. Transfers would increase for a quarter.

Zone 3 and the Downtowner Zone would be eliminated, helping to simplify the Authority's fare structure.

Public comment now is being accepted on the proposals through 4 p.m. on Sept. 30.

A public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15 at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center. Port Authority's Board of Directors intends to consider a final plan on Oct. 23.